Visiting Cornell Professor Arrested For Allegedly Molesting Sleeping Woman On Flight

planecaseEun-jong Lee, 47, a visiting professor of Human Ecology Design at Cornell University has been arrested after he allegedly groped a sleeping woman’s breast on a flight from Tokyo to Newark, New Jersey. He has been charged with abusive sexual contact, a felony carrying a maximum two-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.

The woman was seated next to Lee on Flight 78 and fell asleep during the 13-hour flight. She woke later to find one of Lee’s hands “located on top of her shirt and touching her breast through her clothing.” Lee then allegedly “touched the skin of the Victim’s neck and attempted to place his hand down the front of her shirt.” When she told Lee to stop, she says that he then walked to an airplane bathroom as she reported the matter to the flight crew.

Lee is a professor at Handong Global University in South Korea and is a visiting scholar at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches in the College of Human Ecology’s Design & Environmental Analysis program.

Lee’s specialty is in “user experience”, or UX, and smart interface/interaction design projects/

In a statement, Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina said: “Eun Jong Lee is not an employee of Cornell University. He has been a visiting scholar on the campus. His privileges at Cornell have been suspended and his future affiliation with the university will be assessed as the facts of this matter are confirmed. The University is cooperating with the authorities. We have no further comment on this matter.”

Source: Smoking Gun

28 thoughts on “Visiting Cornell Professor Arrested For Allegedly Molesting Sleeping Woman On Flight”

  1. There’s a common occurrence of similar actions in NYC subways. Google ‘subway grinding’ and ‘subway groping’.

  2. the problem i have is DID ANYONE ELSE WITNESS him molest this lady? or could it be as Gary said that he to fell asleep and was unaware of his actions? im not taking up for him at all as a victim of child molestation and rape i abhor pervs with a special hatred but something isnt fitting with this story. and this man has been vilified without anyone hearing his side of it as i said IM NOT IN ANY SHAPE FORM OR FASHION DEFENDING HIM but i am also well aware of many men who were and are falsely charged by women and their lives destroyed only for it to turn out that said man did no such thing and in many many cases the so called victim turned out to be a liar wanting attention

    1. ShakingMyHead,

      I too had the same skepticism you had about it being just her word, perhaps absent any outside witnesses. I read the probable cause statement provided the court by the FBI Special Agent. It seems that, according to the information provided, that the accused admitted to placing his hands upon the victim so that certainly is a crucial bit of evidence. Probable cause statements don’t necessarily contain all the evidence necessary to help ensure a conviction, they only provide enough information to establish authority, jurisdiction, the suspect’s probable involvement and the statutory elements of the crime charged. I believe putting a witness’ statements are very compelling for a PC statement but it is not necessary but highly recommended.

      In my view a witnesses’ statement alone is not sufficient to establish probable cause for arrest. It must be corroborated by other evidence of guilt of the suspect.

      Situations having the concern you show became more problematic on the local level when the mandatory arrest for domestic violence statutes began in the mid 1980s. To this day there have been in my view much too many arrests made of “suspects” based solely upon the words of a victim and especially in describing only pain and uncorroborated assault by a suspect. In my view this amounts to insufficient probable cause. While pain is an element of assault, in WA pain is an element of domestic violence assault, however unless it is clearly established an act will result in pain, it is difficult to articulate minor pain to an evidentiary standard. Therefore if there is no evidence there is no probable cause to arrest.

      But in many states the mandatory arrest laws contain clauses for immunity from prosecution for officers who make arrests under mandatory domestic violence arrests so there is not sufficient deterrence to make certain there is sufficient evidence to make arrests as it is with regard to other cases that false arrest torts can be applied.

      There was no domestic violence in this incident on the aircraft, but what really sank the suspect in this case was to admit he had touched the victim in the manner he stated. Otherwise it could have been a “he said, she said” affair.

  3. He was a visiting scholar — he did not teach at Cornell.


    “An after-hours message for Lee’s public defender was not returned.

    “Lee was listed on the Cornell website as a UX design researcher, who has been working closely with Samsung and LG electronics design teams on smart interface/interaction design projects.”

  4. It’s to her credit that she didn’t hit him and, in the end, it will help her that she showed some restraint. It’s all on him now.

  5. Punishment is always the most effective when meted out quickly. A couple hard, swift, jabs in his package would get his mind right pronto.

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